Archive for the ‘Thriller’ Category

Kill-Your-Friends-Nicholas-HoultKill Your Friends is not nearly as deliciously nasty a film as it should be and not half as clever as it thinks it is. Scripted by John Niven from his own novel, the movie takes a satiric look at the British music industry in the late 1990’s, the supposed heyday of the late, unlamented Britpop movement. Yes, the acting is bravura, the direction appropriately brisk, the dialogue and cinematography respectively knife-edge sharp, but the end result is merely diverting rather than engrossing.

(more…)

SurvivorHow bad can it be?

Very.

It is natural to take a glance at the new thriller Survivor as a possibility for an evening’s entertainment and come away favorably disposed toward giving it a go. The cast has a slew of familiar names who have been involved in quality productions in the past and been rewarded for it. Survivor boasts an Oscar winner, a Golden Globe winner, a former James Bond, and a Quentin Tarantino resurrection project among the leads: Angela Bassett, Dylan McDermott, Pierce Brosnan, and Robert Forster. The cherry on top is Milla Jovovich, who has single handedly made the Resident Evil series viable. (more…)

rl_galerie_005Too often it seems as if the programmers for the Berlinale Film Festival use the H.L. Mencken definition of puritanism as their maxim for selecting films. They display a haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy after seeing one of the movies they choose to showcase at the annual event. Working your way through the Competition or Panorama category can be an eat-your-vegetables exercise. Where then can the intrepid filmgoer go for a nice slice of genre pie after days and nights of sampling overdone highbrow fare? The task is not an easy one. Berlinale has yet to follow the lead offered by the world’s other premier film festivals like Sundance, Tribeca, Toronto, and London and added a Midnight section for horror, science fiction, fantasy, off-beat comedy, and other films that don’t so much push the envelope as rip it a new one. (more…)

victoria-2015-Sebastian-Schipper-06Once upon a time there was a German film called Run, Lola, Run that become something of a global sensation for its frenetic pace, its inventive storytelling, and its sheer novelty. Seventeen years later, we have another German film, Victoria, that also deals with a ne’er-do-well in a difficult situation who looks to a woman as the solution to his troubles. What’s more, Victoria boasts its own cinematic gimmicks, as the movie was purportedly filmed in one take and meant to play out in real time. And the writer and director of Victoria, Sebastian Schipper, even appeared in the cast of Run, Lola, Run. (more…)

The LoftThe Loft is a serviceable thriller with a cast culled largely from American television and enough twists for the audience to overlook its uneven pace and its tenuous logic.

Five male friends decide to share a condominium for their extracurricular and extramarital activities, and it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. In this genre, it’s invariably a dead naked blonde wrapped in bed sheets who gets the short end. Which of the five is responsible or is someone outside the group trying to set one or more of them up are the questions that drive the action. (more…)

FaultsFaults, an out of the mainstream effort detailing an attempt to rescue a young woman from a cult, appears to have been made in the 1970’s as an ABC Movie of the Week and kept in a time capsule until its release on the festival circuit in 2014. Take the stray cell phone and the recent automobiles out of the picture, and you have a period piece that is better suited for a time and place that no longer exists.

Kids into cults seems a bit passé. The hippie phenomena of the 60’s spilled over into the communes of the 70’s, and parents saw their children play out the ageless act of rebellion first through drugs and then through philosophies; in either case, it meant the young leaving the old behind. While cults remain a phenomenon, they generally break into the mainstream press now only through apocalyptic predictions or tragic acts of self-destruction. (more…)

BTW2The would-be teen noir thriller Bad Turn Worse was shown under the even more awkward title We Gotta Get Out of This Place at the 2014 Fantasy Filmfest. The new name is an improvement in that it is both more concise and a more accurate summation of the plot trajectory of this underwhelming little movie. For all its faults, Bad Turn Worse can now boast of truth in advertising as this movie starts out bad and, oh yeah, turns worse. A traditional premise that could have made for reasonable entertainment is undone by poor casting and a weak script.

(more…)